Meal Planning 101: On Creating a Menu for Dinner Guests, Plus Recipes Abound!

Disclaimer: I am back to my verbose ways, and this entry is long. My promises mean nothing, but I’m pretty sure the next post will be short. Bear with me!

Psst. Want to know a secret? I’m an effusive person.

Gasp! It’s probably painfully obvious that I lack restraint when demonstrating and articulating my love for people (and food and TV). Why? Enter the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Though I don’t fully buy into it, I’ve found the test and its analysis helpful in understanding what motivates me. And, true to obsessive form, I’ve taken the Myers –Briggs Personality Test at least 10 times in my life, all with the same result. I am solidly an ENFJ. According to

ENFJs are natural-born leaders, full of passion and charisma. Forming around two percent of the population, they are oftentimes our politicians, our coaches and our teachers, reaching out and inspiring others to achieve and to do good in the world. With a natural confidence that begets influence, ENFJs take a great deal of pride and joy in guiding others to work together to improve themselves and their community.”

There’s the good. Here’s the rub:

“While ENFJs enjoy lending this helping hand, other personality types may simply not have the energy or drive to keep up with it – creating further strain, people with the ENFJ personality type can become offended if their efforts aren’t reciprocated when the opportunity arises. Ultimately, ENFJs’ give and take can become stifling to types who are more interested in the moment than the future, or who simply have Identities that rest firmly on the Assertive side, making them content with who they are and uninterested in the sort of self-improvement and goal-setting that ENFJs hold so dear.”

Stifling. I’m stifling! Oh god. Oh yikes.

So, in the last year I’ve been trying to redirect my somewhat manic desire to demonstrate (and receive) love in my ideal form* towards something more palatable and enjoyable for all parties. I do this by cooking for people.

*ideal form: I hold your face in my hands, you hold my face in your hands, we look deep into each other’s eyes and talk about the ins and outs of everything we hold dear until our souls are exhausted by satiation.


This is generally what it looks like when I love someone.

Though I’m still a bit intense whilst coming up with a menu for dinner guests, at least my friends won’t feel suffocated from my effort – they’ll just eat something that is hopefully tasty and comforting. For some reason, I kind of liken this situation to the phrase, “A tired dog is a happy dog.” You know, take your dog on a goddamn run so s/he won’t eat your couch. It’s as if I need to use up all my energy preparing something in order to be a less hyperactive and demanding person.

Before I expose too much of my nuttiness, here are the things I consider when coming up with a dinner menu for guests:

  1. How many people am I serving?
    This matters. While I may do something more complex and intricate for one guest, it may not be feasible or practical to do that on a larger scale for 5+ friends. When serving more than four total people, I will likely do something that involves fewer steps or one pot, like seared skirt steak, bibim guksu, braised pork ribs and cabbage, crab fried rice, or a risotto. On the other side of this, sometimes a bigger audience provides the best opportunity to try something more labor intensive that would be “wasted” on just me and my husband. For instance, we might want to one day host a Homemade Porchetta + Ciabatta + Beer party, and that would definitely work better for a larger group of guests.
  2. Do any of my guests have dietary restrictions?
    I always ask my dinner guests if they have any dietary restrictions or major dislikes. There is nothing more disappointing than watching loved ones try to eat something they hate, especially if it’s something I’ve made. If I have several guests, and only one of them is vegetarian or vegan, I will usually make a “family style” meal so that everyone has something to eat, and the vegetarian/vegan doesn’t have to be singled out. This serves as a nice parameter, because some dishes are better than others served in this fashion.
  3. What is my budget?
    For me, it’s important to determine the budget for dinner with guests so that I’m keeping track of all expenses. I never want to tip way over my usual spending, so this will often help me to figure out items for a delicious meal that won’t rob my wallet. For more on organizing around a budget, click here.
  4. What is the weather/temperature like?
    I think about this not because I don’t think one should eat stews in summer or salads in winter, but because I don’t want my guests to be uncomfortably hot or cold while they’re eating. If it’s hot in the apartment (either beacuse it’s a balmy 98 degrees outside, or it’s cold, but the heater is on a rampage), I’ll likely do something that doesn’t require much oven/stove use. Or, I’ll make something that can be roasted/cooked in advance, so the apartment doesn’t feel like an aroma sauna. If it’s cold in the apartment, I’ll make the warmest darn stew of all time. In mild and dry weather, anything is game.
  5. How much time do I have to prepare the meal?
    If given the choice, I would want to spend loads and loads of time preparing a meal for friends. But, people often come over on weekdays, which means that I have a short window between getting home from work and dinnertime to get shit ready. Of course, if I’m being particularly clever, I can prep some elements the night before, but I’m often not very smart. Even though this can seem like a bummer, time serves as helpful constraint. What dishes can I make in 1-2 hours that won’t exhaust me (who wants to dine with a grumpy and tired Yejin? NO ONE) but will still be tasty and well rounded? For last night’s guest, I made an appetizer, entree, side dish, and dessert in the span of 2 hours.
  6. Is there one thing in particular I want my guests to try?
    Based on all these other questions, which generally gives me a sense of what NOT to prepare, I will start planning my meal by selecting one element/dish I know I want to feed my guest. This is extremely helpful, and makes the process less stressful or overwhelming. Based on that one thing, you can then form the rest of your menu with complementary (or contradictory) items. Recently, I made Hainanese Chicken and Rice, and it was the best thing I had made all month. So, I wanted to share the joy with a friend who came over for dinner on Tuesday. Since the poulet served as an entrée, I started to think of other elements that would complement the light but earthy flavor of the dish. I thought it would be nice to start the meal with a simple and delicious kimchi pancake appetizer, since there is very little tang in the chicken. To accompany the entrée, I wanted a flavorful vegetable, but one that wouldn’t drown out the subtle taste and aromas of the entree. So I chose roasted brussel sprouts and shallots topped with a touch of fish sauce vinaigrette. Since the appetizer and main dish are both quite light, I wanted to end the evening with a deeply flavored and rich dessert. Enter Nigella Lawson’s dense chocolate loaf cake with bourbon and coffee, topped with homemade whipped cream and raspberries.

And, because I thought it’d be nice (and maybe a bit stifling and overwhelming), here are recipes for Tuesday’s meal:

  • Kimchi pancake
  • Hainanese Chicken and Rice
  • Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Shallots with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
  • Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Loaf Cake with Bourbon and Coffee

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Kimchi Pancake Recipe
Recipe modified from
Servings: 2-3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes


1 cup of chopped kimchi
2 tablespoons of kimchi juice
3 chopped scallions
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of sugar
½ cup of flour
¼ cup of water


  1. Place kimchi, kimchi juice, scallions, salt, sugar, flour, and water into a medium sized bowl. Mix well with a spoon.
  2. Heat up a 12 inch non-stick pan over medium high heat and drizzle about two tablespoons of oil (canola or grapeseed is fine).
  3. Place the mixture of kimchi pancake batter on the pan and spread it thinly and evenly with a spoon.
  4. Cook it for 1 ½ minutes until the bottom becomes golden brown and crispy
  5. Turn it over with a spatula or flip it. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 1 ½ minutes.
  6. Turn it over one more time and cook for 30 seconds before transferring it to a serving plate.

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Hainanese Chicken and Rice
Recipe taken from The Woks of Life
Servings: 4-5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour

Chicken Ingredients

1 whole fresh chicken, about 3-3 ½ pounds
1 tablespoon of salt
12-14 cups of water
4-5 slices of ginger
2 whole scallions

Chicken Instructions

  1. Wash the chicken clean and remember to set aside the piece of chicken fat at the back cavity for the rice. Transfer the chicken to a plate and pat dry with a paper towel. Lightly rub the chicken with the salt. This will give the chicken skin a nice sheen. Set it aside.
  2. Bring the water, along with the ginger and scallions, to a boil in a large stockpot. Before adding the chicken to the pot, rinse the chicken under running water to wash away the salt. Carefully lower the chicken into the boiling water, positioning the chicken breast-side up. Now is a good time to adjust the water level so the chicken breast just pokes above the water (so you aren’t left with dry white meat).
  3. Once the water boils, carefully lift the chicken out of the water to pour out the colder water that is trapped in the cavity. Carefully lower the chicken back into the pot. Bring the water to boil again, and cover the lid. Turn off the heat, and leave the pot, covered, on the stove for 45-50 minutes (set a timer). To check if the chicken is done, stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the drumstick; if the juices run clear, it’s cooked through.
  4. When the 45-minute timer (for the chicken) is almost up, prepare a large ice bath. Once the chicken is cooked, carefully lift the chicken out of the pot, drain the water from the cavity and lower it into the ice bath. Take care not to break the skin. After 15 minutes in the ice bath, the chicken should be cooled, drain completely and cover with clear plastic until ready to cut and serve. The ice bath stops the cooking process, locks in the juices, and gives the chicken skin better texture.

Rice Ingredients

Chicken fat, taken from the back cavity of the chicken
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of white rice, preferably jasmine, washed and drained
Chicken stock, from cooking the chicken
2 teaspoons of salt

Rice Instructions

  1. While the chicken is cooling, make the rice. Heat a wok over medium heat. Add the chicken fat and render for about a minute. Stir in the minced garlic and fry briefly, making sure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add the uncooked rice. Stir continuously for about two minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat. Scoop the rice into your rice cooker and add the appropriate amount of chicken stock (instead of the usual water. This amount may vary depending on your rice cooker) and salt. Close the lid and press START.
  4. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can follow these steps. When you wash your rice, let it soak for an additional 20 minutes. Then drain the rice and follow the same steps above, but instead of transferring the rice mixture to your rice cooker, transfer it to a medium/large pot. Add 3 cups of chicken stock and the salt, giving it a quick stir. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once it boils,immediately turn down the heat to the lowest setting. Let the rice simmer and cook (covered) for 10-15 minutes until the rice is done. It’s not quite as foolproof as the rice cooker, but you should get a very similar result. Just be sure to keep an eye on it; burnt rice is no fun.

Sweet Dark Soy Sauce Ingredients

1/3 cup of water
3 tablespoons of rock sugar
1/3 cup of dark soy sauce

Sweet Dark Soy Sauce Instructions

Heat the water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves and the liquid thickens into a simple syrup. Add the dark soy sauce, stirring to combine. Transfer to a sauce dish.

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Brussel Sprouts Oven Roasted And Fish Sauced
Recipe taken from
Servings: 2-4 as a side
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


1 clove of garlic, minced|
1 bird’s eye chili
1 tablespoon of sugar
Juice of ¼ a lime
½ cup of water
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
1 pound of Brussel sprouts
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons of oil
Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Crush the garlic, chili and sugar together in a mortar. Transfer to liquid measuring cup and dissolve the sugar, garlic and chili mixture with the water. Add the lime juice then fish sauce. Set aside.
  3. Trim the ends of the sprouts and remove any outer leaves that are loose or discoloured. Cut sprouts in half. Toss the cut sprouts and quartered shallots with oil and salt and pepper. Place in an oven-proof dish and roast, stirring every so often, until deeply browned, 35-40 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, toss with the fish sauce vinaigrette and enjoy immediately.

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Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake

Recipe taken from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Source: Nigella Lawson’s 
How to Be a Domestic Goddess
Servings: 2 loaves
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


1 cup soft unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup (316 g | 11 1/8 oz) dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cup (170 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt, such as Maldon or Fleur de sel (or use 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces best bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted (I did this in the microwave at 30 second intervals, but don’t walk away — it will burn quickly)
2 tablespoons brandy or bourbon
1 cup freshly brewed coffee


  1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper — just shove a whole sheet in there (versus cutting to make it fit — this way no batter will seep through the cracks). Also, prepare a smaller loaf pan (or some other vessel such as a muffin tin) in a similar manner — I butter the smaller loaf pan well, and I never have issues getting the cake out.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, either with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand-held mixer.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Next, fold in the melted and now slightly cooled chocolate, taking care to blend well but being careful not to overbeat. You want the ingredients combined: You don’t want a light, airy mass. Add the brandy and mix to combine.
  6. Next, gently add the flour mixture alternately spoon by spoon with the coffee until you have a smooth and fairly liquid batter.
  7. Pour into the lined loaf pan, being sure the batter does not come closer than 1 inch from the rim of the cake pan or it risks overflowing. Pour the excess into the smaller prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. (I remove the smaller pan after the first 30 minutes.) The cake will still be a bit squidgy inside, so an inserted cake tester or skewer won’t come out completely clean. Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. (Leave it for a whole day if you can resist.) Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle — it will do so because it’s such a dense and damp cake.

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Coming Up…Introducing a New Series Honoring the Diverse Communities and Histories of the U.S. 

On Baking and Learning to Embrace Failure, plus a Recipe for Almond-Buttermilk Scones

I used to hate baking. It felt like such a chore, especially since I would, as a novice, accidentally get flour and butter all over the kitchen and my face, like a hyperactive child. With cooking, I feel like I can always make adjustments, add in different/new ingredients – I can be somewhat creative. Many say that cooking is like an art, while baking is a science.

Well, to those who believe in the “model minority” archetype, I was/am a bad Asian-American and did/do not excel in the sciences. (I used to drive my biology teacher insane by asking “how does __________ know to do that? Does it have its own brain?”)

So, the process of baking used to feel akin to the dread I’d experience whilst doing the physics homework that I barely understood (I have nightmares about taking a physics test at least once a month). I didn’t grasp the purpose of baking powder or soda. I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing, which is a crucial step before becoming a bit more inventive. And, without this knowledge, I felt doomed to fail.

As a high-strung, anxiety-ridden, productivity-oriented individual, there was nothing worse than dry-ass cake, unevenly baked brownies, hard-as-fuck pastry dough.

Lucky for me, my husband is super into sweets. Like, I have to hide Nutella in a secret location in order to get any for myself. Because I tend to absorb and reflect the things people love, I started to enjoy desserts, too. And, importantly, I slowly and painstakingly started to learn that a dry cake wasn’t some kind of signifier of how awful I am as a human being.

As my love for desserts increased, so did my enjoyment of the baking process. I began to understand more of the “science” behind the process, and can now identify why something doesn’t taste quite right. Strangely enough, I think that this has been important to my growth as a person. It’s almost impossible to fix a baked good, the way one can sometimes can with a stew, soup, roasted dish, etc. Baking (and in particular, failed baking) is teaching me how to embrace my unsuccessful endeavors. Once something is out of the oven, that shit is finished. If it’s not good, I have to sit with it. And rather than ask, “Yejin, why are you the worst and the biggest failure who has ever walked the face of this planet?” I can (sometimes) laugh, feel slightly bad that I’ve wasted a little bit of money, but feel glad that I’ve learned something from the process.

When drama comes from external forces, I tend to stay away. When it comes to judging myself, I’m as dramatic as they come. I’ve realized that sometimes I’m hardest on myself when I don’t actually want to hold myself accountable. This way, I don’t have to listen to someone else’s criticism, because my own judgement is already the harshest and meanest. There is some weird sort of selfishness and self-indulgence that comes with my specific brand of self-loathing. And if I can help solve for this oddly masochistic practice of running away from my own agency by baking and eating sweet things, then I guess I have no choice but to continue getting rounder and rounder. So, I’m publicly committing myself to baking and eating a lot more cakes, muffins, pies, and scones. For the sake of humanity, obviously.

And now, here’s one of my favorite scone recipes:

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Almond-Buttermilk Scones with Jam
Recipe taken from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of sugar
1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup of sliced almonds
2/3 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes

2 tablespoons of milk
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. While the oven is heating, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the almonds, and stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture. You have two options for this step: (1) use a food processor and pulse the mixture until you have a crumb-like mixture, or (2) use two knives or a pastry cutter to literally cut the butter into the flour (on a cutting board) until you have tiny pieces of butter.
  5. Place the mixture into a large bowl. Add the buttermilk/vanilla mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Once the ingredients are just mixed, pour the mixture onto your cutting board and gently knead the dough together until it us just combined. Do not knead too much – this will alter the consistency of the scones.
  6. Pack the mixture into a ball, and place down onto a floured surface. Gently pat the ball down until it is about ¾ of an inch thick. With a knife, cut the circular shaped dough into eight pieces.
  7. Place the pieces onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Brush the scones with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  8. Place the scones into the oven, and bake for about 18 minutes. You want them to be a little golden brown, so check on your scones after about 15 minutes.
  9. Take your scones out of the oven, and let them cool for about five minutes on a cookie sheet. Cut the scones horizontally and fill with your favorite jam! I’ve personally been rather fond of blueberry jam, as of late.
  10. Enjoy!

Coming Up: Menu Series: Forcing Myself Out of a Funk

On Trying Something New: Self-Doubt as Motivation, Plus a Recipe for Blueberry Pie

I’m an odd combination of traits. I don’t mean this in some self-aggrandizing, quirkier-than-thou, braggart kind of way. For the most part, I’m really quite bland. But there are strange impulses that share a moment in time in my mind and body, that really ought not be paired together. For example, I absolutely adore attempting to cook/bake new things. There is nothing better in this world than trying something different, and having the courage to expand, even if the results are not ideal. But, at the same time, I experience an inordinate level of anxiety whenever trying something new.

Here’s my “how to reduce/create anxiety when trying a new dish” rule book:

  1. Look through some food-porn blogs, and find which picture makes you drool the most. Pick that dish as the new thing you’d like to conquer and eat.
  2. Incessantly peruse 10-30 different recipes of the same dish, just so you know you have the best one.
  3. Pick one or two or three of the best, but keep going back to aforementioned 10-30 recipes, just in case you missed something.
  4. Buy all the ingredients from the winning recipe, but if there are any differences between that one and the second or third best, make sure you buy those groceries, as well. Just in case.
  5. For the few days leading up to your new cooking adventure, study the ingredients, measurements, techniques, and method. Do that at least 10 times before you even think about beginning the process of cooking something different.
  6. The night before your new cooking adventure, visualize your pending experience. Imagine how much time you’ll need in order to perform at your best, and arrange your next day accordingly.
  7. A half hour before your planned cooking time, do one last comprehensive review of the recipe and method. Perhaps find a couple of videos that make a similar dish, and absorb all the knowledge you can handle.
  8. COOK, while obsessively revisiting the recipe.
  9. Prepare to eat, and cross your fingers (and hope to die if the food tastes like shit).

This is pretty much an unfiltered list of how I handle the creation of a new dish.

Why do I behave this way? Why am I a chronic over-preparer? What is the worst thing that could happen? The answer, my friends, is all in my penchant for self-doubt and my fear of disappointing others and myself. I’m not entirely sure from where this mode-of-being comes, but I know it to be a very integral part of Yejin. But I find that my self-doubt, when not all-consuming, is actually very motivating and productive. I don’t cower when self-deprecating thoughts come my way. In fact, I try harder, work more comprehensively, and enjoy shouting “in  your face!” (to myself, like a crazy person…) after a successful adventure. However, I should note that this is probably pretty unhealthy. I do wish I could just enjoy an activity without being consumed by the prospect of joy or disappointment. I’m working on it. In the meantime, I’ll deal with my anxiety by being overly prepared, and hopefully, by enjoying the delicious fruits of my labor.

I’ve never made pie before, which explains the completely imperfect lattice top. But there is something so satisfying about making and rolling your own dough. Also, I really enjoy the process of heating blueberries, because eventually, it turns into this beautiful dark color, and bubbles like a thick cauldron concoction. In any case here’s the recipe I decided to use (and study, and restudy):

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The inaugural pie

Blueberry Pie
Recipe taken from America’s Test Kitchen 


Foodproof Pie Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/4 cup vodka, cold (see note)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Blueberry Filling

  • 6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces) (see note)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
  • 2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground (see note)
  • pinch table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water


  1. 1. For The Pie Dough: Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

    2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

    3. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

    4. For The Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

    5. Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.

    6. Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough. Cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang on each side.

    Lattice that pie!

    Lattice that pie!

    7. Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

    8. Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Since I’m a bit of a nut, I also decided to make empanadas, today. They’re filled with ground beef, shallots, red peppers, olives, raisins, honey, salt, pepper, and cumin. Gotta love making dough for both sweet and savory treats!


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Moral of today’s entry: My obsessive behavior surrounding the creation of something new serves as the release valve for my undying anxiety…and the end results are usually pretty delicious. So, until I figure out how to mollify my constant state of anxiety, I think this’ll do just fine.